October 11th, 2018

So what exactly is a “sufficient smile”?

What strange times we live in.

Just about the only security force in India that is consistently charming and friendly and un-overbearing (in my humble opinion) is the CISF or Central Industrial Security Force.

I’m not entirely sure of their remit, but what I do know is these good souls handle the security at Indian airports, checking documents, patiently reminding people to take out their laptops, and not carry liquids, and to stand in line, day in and day out.

In the case of the women of the CISF who frisk women passengers, they are often briefly chatty, and invariably complimentary about my bad Hindi.

They are nice people to a T, they are unfailingly polite, and so it was with some degree of befuddlement and regret that I read a story online that implies that the CISF are not going to be quite as friendly from now on, as they used to be.

I quote:

“Shifting from ‘broad smile’ to a more disciplined and ‘sufficient smile’, the (CISF) has asked its men not to be ‘over-friendly’ with the air-travellers so that they can focus on performing their core duties at the airports.”


I mean, I sorta-kinda get it.  Their job is to ensure security, after all.

I totally get that.

But are we now doomed to have to deal with something like the impassive, borderline surliness of the security people at Heathrow?

Heaven forfend.

In a country where every two bit political surrounds himself with an aggressive security detail, where we mere mortals routinely have to make way for VIPs and VVIPs, it was always a relief to encounter the calm and polite CISF at airports, which are often crowded, stressful places.

They were never rude, always polite and, unusually, always smiley.

Ah well.  That era is apparently over.

No more broad smiles from these nice people…

“From broad smiles, we are now coming to a sufficient smile system as focusing on the core area of ensuring foolproof security is more important.”

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